Utah may shift COVID-19 plan to focus on elderly, minority communities

May 20, 2020, 6:24 AM | Updated: 6:27 am

Utah COVID-19 poll coronavirus management...

FILE - In this April 21, 2020 file photo Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during a news conference in South Jordan, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Leads Together Plan has been the roadmap for how the state fights the COVID-19 pandemic. But Utah’s focus may soon shift from designating “yellow” or “orange” risk areas to helping people most at-risk for getting a bad case of the virus.  

The state wants to “triage” or sort the risk between those who are more or less likely to be affected by COVID-19.

Natalie Gochnour from the University of Utah gave a sneak preview of the Utah Leads Together 3.0 plan to the Salt Lake Chamber on Tuesday. 

Though the plan has not been finalized yet, it would have guidelines for nursing facilities and businesses to help them protect at-risk people, as well as for people living with an at-risk person. 

Utah COVID-19 numbers

Gochnour said the Utah numbers show COVID-19 is affecting some groups more than others. 

“Seventy percent [70%] of those who’ve passed away are 65 years and older. Very sobering number. 90% plus of those who’ve passed away are 65 years and older and have other medical conditions,” Gochnour said. 

Natalie Gochnour Screenshot

They also want to protect those with underlying conditions. For example, people with diabetes are 250% more likely to end up in the hospital if they get COVID-19. 

Some of the proposed guidelines would require increased tracing and COVID-19 testing in nursing homes, and requiring people to wear face masks at businesses as well. 

It’s unclear if the state will keep classifying cities and counties as “orange” or “yellow” risk levels in the new plan. 

Aside from the greater risk COVID-19 poses to certain populations, Gochnour said the societal cost to those who do not have the disease has been great. 

“The impacts of COVID-19 go well beyond case counts, well beyond hospitalizations. In fact, it affects housing, food security, and healthy behaviors. Just for example, we’re concerned that people aren’t getting the preventative [medical] care that they need,” Gochnour said. 

Planners feel confident about changing the focus to the guidelines because Utah is meeting its transmission rate targets, the hospital intensive care units are not overwhelmed, and most people are getting the disease from someone they know, so community spread is low.

Economic recovery

The other two major parts of the plan would be to address the impacts of COVID-19 on multicultural communities and plant the seeds for an economic recovery. 

Governor Gary Herbert also took part in the virtual meeting and addressed Utah’s road to economic recovery. 

He did not want to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19, but he also feels Utah’s economy will start to rebound by the end of the summer as people get back to work. 

The governor also acknowledged that Utahns are still feeling anxious about their economic situation.

“We have polling [that] at least the majority of people in Utah now are more concerned about their loss of income and their livelihood than they are about getting sick,” Herbert said.    


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

A UTA bus travels along Fort Union Boulevard in Cottonwood Heights on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022....

Bridger Beal-Cvetko

How can UTA increase ridership? Run trains, buses more often, audit recommends

The last such audit of UTA was completed in 2014, and Jesse Martinson told the Legislative Audit Subcommittee Wednesday that the authority has implemented nearly all of the previous recommendations and has "improved a great deal since that audit."

27 minutes ago

Melatonin is a hormonal sleep aid. According to the Mayo Clinic, melatonin is produced and released...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Melatonin companies given two years to childproof their product, after melatonin related ER visits increase

The CDC said more than 11,000 children went to the ER in the last two years after ingesting melatonin.

1 hour ago

Chad Daybell and attorney John Prior on day five of his murder trial on April 17, 2024....

Lauren Steinbrecher

Chad Daybell didn’t steal money from wife’s dead children

On the fifth day of the Chad Daybell murder trial Wednesday, the courtroom’s focus turned to an alleged plot to steal money meant for Colby Ryan‘s two murdered children.

2 hours ago

12% of women in Utah do not report sexual assault...

Eric Cabrera

Only 12% of Utah women report sexual assault, DA’s Office says

The Utah District Attorney's Office said for every 100 Utah women who are sexually assaulted, 88 of them won't report it.

3 hours ago

SLCPD is reminding anyone in the city this weekend to be mindful of travel impacts during the Salt ...

Devin Oldroyd

Salt Lake City Marathon will cause travel impacts, SLCPD warns

SLCPD is reminding anyone in the city this weekend to be mindful of travel impacts during the Salt Lake City Marathon.

4 hours ago

Image of people playing pickleball at the 11th Avenue Park in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 30, ...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Kids, stay away from Pickleball

Can’t get a timeslot on the court? Jeff Caplan proposes a new Pickleball Law.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Utah may shift COVID-19 plan to focus on elderly, minority communities